We are long-time fans of time travel stories as writers, readers and viewers. Trish has written three time travel novels, Running Time, Kill Time, and Black Water. My time travel novel is called Romancing the Raven. As readers, Trish and I both think that Time and Again by Jack Finney is perhaps the best time travel story ever written. As viewers, in recent months, we’ve watched two television series recently that feature time travel—Travelers and Timeless.
Travelers, a Netflix series, is a post-apocalyptic tale, in which teams of travelers come back from the 24th century and attempt to alter some events that will change their history and save the world. It’s an unusual time travel story in that it takes place in our present! The time travelers come to us. Very tricky. They take over the bodies of people who they know are about to die. The team leader, for example, takes over the body of an FBI agent who was about to meet his end on a case. So these folks from the future have to fit into the lives that their new bodies were living. That, of course, leads to some interesting scenarios.
The travelers apparently are never going home. They’re stuck in these bodies. Their rules include: Never jeopardize your cover. Do not call each other by future names—”Leave the future in the past.” Do not use future knowledge for personal gain. Don’t take a life; don’t save a life, unless otherwise directed.
The other TV series, which is on NBC, is Timeless. It’s more of a traditional time travel story with a time travel machine taking them to significant past events—a trip through history. So we meet famous people and view famous incidents, such as the explosion of the Hindenburg, the assassination of Lincoln, the fall of the Alamo, the Watergate scandal, Charles Lindburgh’s cross-Atlantic flight.
Of course, there’s a purpose to these journeys. Someone has stolen a time machine and is attempting to change history. So while the travelers from the future in Travelers attempts to change the past (our time), in Timeless the time travelers are attempting to prevent the group in control of one of the time machines from altering the past, which would change the world and their own lives. In Travelers, the nemesis is another group from the future aligned with a different power base with different interests.
In both series, the time travelers live communally in dinghy warehouses equipped with really advanced computers. Both series have some flaws, which can be overlooked by letting go of your sense of disbelief. For example, in Timeless there’s an annoying telescoping of time after they arrive at a new time frame and abandon their time travel vessel. We never see how they get from the rural, isolated areas where they usually arrive, to the city or place of action. They often arrive in 21st century street clothes, but then must go and buy new duds. We never see how they pull that off.
In Travelers, the shortcoming is how these people from the future manage to adjust not only to the 21st century sensibilities, but how they are able to fit into their new families and jobs without betraying who they really are. We manage to overlook these lapses in storytelling and enjoy the episodes.
Time travel fascinates. There’s no doubt about it. Another TV series we enjoyed—at least for two seasons—was Outlander which is set in Scotland. But, for me, what’s even more fascinating and mind-boggling than any of these shows is a story of true time travel.
If we are to believe former Coast Guardman, John Murphy of North Carolina and his friend Barbara. Those two seemingly moved back in time nearly 200 years for at least two hours in 1964 on the island of Bermuda. Their story is summarized here. It’s also included in detail in our book, Beyond Strange: True Tales of Alien Encounters and Paranormal Mysteries.
Unlike time travel in those two TV series, John and Barbara required no advanced technological device to move them back. Yet, somehow they walked through a window in time, and into a 18th century village and out again, only later to discover that the village no longer exists, that it was destroyed in the so-called Great Hurricane of 1780. It’s hard to imagine that this pair would make up the story, especially since they had lost contact shortly after the incident for more than four decades and Barbara had no idea that the village didn’t exist until John asked her in 2008 if she recalled walking into that village with him. She did, and then was told the rest of the story.